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A View from the Bridge | Study Guide Arthur Miller Overview Author Arthur Miller First Performed 1955 Type Play Genre Tragedy Perspective and Narrator Sections of the play A View from the Bridge are narrated by Alfieri, an Italian American lawyer, who is at times a character within the play and at other times a commentator on events and characters. About the Title A View from the Bridge takes its title from the geographical setting. The area of Red Hook, where the play takes place, can be seen from the Brooklyn Bridge, which spans the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan in New York City. Context Greek Beginnings of Tragedy The genre of tragedy has ancient beginnings in early Greece in the choral songs from the cult of Dionysus, the god of vegetation, wine, and ecstasy. Much early Greek dramatic tragedy was based on the writings of the poet Homer and performed at ceremonies, almost religious in nature. The disasters destined to befall a heroic figure are the defining feature of tragedy, along with a chorus—a group of actors who comment on the action and significance of events in the play—speaking directly to the audience. The play Oedipus the King (first performed c. 430–426 BCE) by Greek dramatist Sophocles (c. 496–406 BCE) is a prime example of a classical tragedy. Fated to suffer, Oedipus loses everything, including his sight, and the chorus ends the play by stating that death is the only happiness men can find. The aim of tragedy, according to Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BCE), is to elicit pity and fear from the audience. These feelings lead to an emotional catharsis at the story's resolution. As a powerful and adaptable form, tragedy as a genre has expanded beyond theater to include opera, novels, and film. Miller wrote A View from the Bridge as a tragedy, following the suffering of Eddie , who is destined to meet an unfortunate end because he cannot escape his incestuous feelings. Alfieri serves as the chorus in this tragedy, commenting on the story,
interpreting the significance of events, and speaking directly to the audience. Miller points to the vengefulness at the heart of Eddie's demise as "the secret of the Greek drama." He claims the importance of "blood and tribal survival within the family" made "Red Hook ... full of Greek tragedies." Italian Emigration From the late 19th century though the 1970s, millions of Italians, mostly young men from the agricultural southern part of the country, emigrated to the United States in search of employment. Wealthy landowners in Italy benefitted from an exploitive economy that left agricultural workers at their mercy and without hope of owning the land they farmed. Over the course of a century, the number of Italian emigrants to the United States exceeded 25 million. Large numbers of Italians and other European immigrants settling in the United States in the early 20th century led to the implementation of immigration reform in the 1920s, restricting the numbers of immigrants. Limitations on legal emigration and widespread unemployment led many

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